Q: How Can I Tell If My Car Battery Needs Replacing?

asked by on December 01, 2015

How can I tell if my car battery needs replacing?

A battery needs to be replaced when it can no longer support the electrical and starting system of the vehicle. How will you know this? The most common first signs that a battery is starting to go bad may not be obvious at first. You may start to see an intermittent dim in your lights when you turn on an electrical system like an AC blower or interior light when you are at idle. Your radio light may dim when the AC compressor cycles on and off. These may be some first signs your battery is getting weak.

As your battery ages, it uses up its internal battery lead plates and will get weaker as time goes by. Depending on the make and model of battery you have, it may last anywhere from two years to five or six. Most batteries will last about three years or more. Even though they last this long, they will get weaker over time and if you are pushing the battery and charging to the limits of its capacity now, it may not last too much longer before showing major signs of needing replacement.

The major signs of a battery needing replacement is excessive corrosion buildup on top of the battery and its posts. After this, you will have a slow cranking engine during startup. Then you may notice intermittent no-crank conditions and have to jumpstart the vehicle after it sits for a couple of days. It cannot hold a charge for that long of a period.

Once you start to have these kind of problems you will need to have the battery replaced and the cables serviced. If you do not and continue to drive it this way you will start to put a bigger and bigger strain on the alternator. This in turn will cause the alternator to fail and then you will have a battery and alternator to replace. Once the battery is replaced and the cables replaced or cleaned as needed, the charging system should be tested to make sure there has been no damage to it. The alternator will need to have a good battery to be properly tested.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Possible alternator problem

Hi. An illuminated dashboard charging light is almost a sure sign that the alternator needs to be replaced. If the light is not on and you suspect a problem with the alternator, there are a few ways to test it....

Has new alternator, new battery when started , motor dies when battery is disconnected...my mechanics are stumped on this

Hello. If replacing those particular components did not correct the issue then the next thing I would look at is the vehicle's voltage regulator. It appears that this engine's electrical system is equipped with an external voltage regulator that functions,...

Window will only open, but not close

Hello there, thank you for asking about your 2003 Chrysler Intrepid. The power window motor is just a reversible DC motor, the direction of which is determined by the window switch. If the switch is OK, my guess is that...

Related articles

How Often Do I Need to Replace My Car's Differential Fluid?
Many folks do not even know what the differential does. It is not one of those common car parts like the transmission or...
Alternator or Car Battery: How to Tell Which Part Is the Problem
When When you need to go somewhere and your car won’t start, it’s not unreasonable to think that you could have a car charging problem. A jump start might fix it in the short term and get you to work...
How the Alternator Works in Your Car
Your Your car alternator, at its most basic, is what works along with your battery and the rest of your charging system to keep your car running. When you start your car, you’re running on battery power. Then the battery...